Indonesian Avocado Shake

indonesian shake.jpg

For those of you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a festive green drink as an alternative to the fabled Shamrock Shake.  (I hear you– an Indonesian avocado milkshake for St. Patrick’s Day? I know it seems far-fetched, but so is the Shamrock Shake! And also green beer, for that matter.)

This is an updated version of a recipe I posted years ago for jus alpukat, also known as es alpukat.  While many of you may think of avocados only in savory dishes, like guacamole, in Indonesia avocado shakes are as popular as smoothies in the US, served as a dessert. Avocados are fruits, after all, despite being enjoyed as vegetables on this side of the world. This version is more suited to my palate now– less sweet, with sugar or other sweeteners substituting for the condensed milk in the original, and with a drizzle of coffee syrup (if you can get it) to add a little bitterness to counter the richness and sweetness.  A squeeze of lime, which is often added to Latin American batidos, or fruit shakes, enhances… everything.  The version I’ve made here is a cross between versions which include cold coffee in the shake, and the recent trend of drizzling chocolate syrup to make a pattern on the serving glass.

The backstory dates to the early ’90s:

I had my first avocado milkshake when I was an adventurous (and unencumbered) 19 year old, backpacking through Indonesia during a break while studying abroad in Singapore. What I lacked in money I more than made up for in curiosity, and my wide-eyed and wide-open face attracted new friends on my travels. On one of these occasions, and older Indonesian-American couple I met in Bali invited me for a drink. While they were downing potent Singapore Sling types of cocktails, I thought it wise to remain on my guard and avoid booze. I planned to order a freshly squeezed lime or passionfruit juice, but my new friends urged me to try the avocado shake instead: “This is what Bali people drink.” And why not? I was pleasantly surprised by how the avocado’s creamy flesh blended with ice and condensed milk made as creamy a shake as ice cream. That long-ago version was not adorned with chocolate or coffee syrup, but that’s the trend now. What a way to gild the lily, or as my friends taught me to say in Bahasa Indonesia, emas (gold).  The coffee syrup, used to make coffee milk, the official drink of Rhode Island, is also a tribute to the many years I spent in Providence, Rhode Island as a student, which was my home before and after my adventures studying abroad.

Jus Alpukat (Indonesian Avocado Shake)

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 ripe Hass avocado

1 1/2 cups low-fat milk (or nut milk of your choice)

1-2 T sugar, agave, condensed milk or other sweetener, to taste

2-4 ice cubes

freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste

2 T Eclipse coffee syrup or chocolate syrup (may substitute cooled, strong coffee or cold brew), divided

Technique

1.   Combine first four ingredients in a blender until smooth and foamy. (If using cold coffee instead of syrup, add this as well.)  Stir in a squeeze of lime juice, and adjust lime juice and sweetener to taste.  (If using coffee or chocolate syrup, be aware that this will add sweetness.)

2.  In each of two 6 oz glasses, squirt up to a tablespoon of coffee or chocolate syrup into the bottom (and sides, if you wish).  Slowly pour in avocado shake.  Serve ice cold.